Category Archives: Novel Escapes

A mish-mash of posts about writing and reading. Sometimes fun, sometimes serious, always a way to waste some time online.

Delta bike tour-#3

Delta Bike Tour #1 – Day 1

Delta Bike Tour | A blog series exploring a two day road bike tour around the Sacramento Delta. Includes route maps and pics. JamieThornton.com #deltabiketourThis is the second post in a new series that explores some of my research and adventures while writing A Feast of Weeds, a post-apocalyptic adventure trilogy.

On the first day of this delta tour, we biked over 50 miles. Beautiful weather, deserted roads, a friendly encounter with a local folk band. Part research, part adventure. I spent the day imagining what it might feel like to find the whole world big and empty.

The slough roads were narrow, barely wider than one car, but so empty, it often felt more like a dedicated bike trail than a road for cars. Some of the sloughs sported a layer of neon green, red, or yellow algae, depending I think on the type of chemical runoff from the vineyards (a slough is a type of creek, usually slow-moving, swampy, marshy).

On the turn off for Grand Island Mansion we passed another group of bicyclists on their way to Berkeley, CA with their instruments strapped on their backs and on bike trailers. The Cracker Family Circus had also started their trek in Sacramento and were headed to Berkeley to play a show. They’re all about lowering their carbon footprint while playing punk blues. We compared maps and miles traveled, like any good cyclist would do, and then headed onwards.

The biggest surprise for me were the two ferry crossings. They run almost continuously across two sloughs–there to help the random passer-by cross the delta’s vast network of roads, islands, and swamps. No fee, no hassle, we just waited for the next ferry and hopped on.

While being in the saddle for that many miles didn’t feel so great, the day’s worth of sights and friendly people made up for it. It was a nice, easy ride with great views, beautiful skies, flat roads, and a countryside almost empty of people.

Of course, that’s not quite how Corrina, Gabbi, and Maibe find things in A Feast of WeedsIn fact, these heroines would each argue that the world is still too full of people after everything falls apart–capture and torture and terrible experiments will do that to a girl.

Igneous Books is publishing A Feast of Weeds in late Spring 2015. I’ll be sending updates, sneak peeks, and advance reader copies through my email list.   I hope you decide to Join the Adventure and further explore how this delta bike tour informed the trilogy.

The beginning | Delta Bike Tour | A blog series exploring a two day road bike tour around the Sacramento Delta. Includes route maps and pics. JamieThornton.com #deltabiketour
The beginning in West Sacramento. 
Shorty's | Delta Bike Tour | A blog series exploring a two day road bike tour around the Sacramento Delta. Includes route maps and pics. JamieThornton.com #deltabiketour
An apostrophe catastrophe. 
Delta back roads | Delta Bike Tour | A blog series exploring a two day road bike tour around the Sacramento Delta. Includes route maps and pics. JamieThornton.com #deltabiketour
We really felt like we were getting deep into the back roads of the delta when this sign came along. It reminded me, rather ominously, of the districts in Hunger Games. 
Yolo Library | Delta Bike Tour | A blog series exploring a two day road bike tour around the Sacramento Delta. Includes route maps and pics. JamieThornton.com #deltabiketour
A cute little house turned town library. 
Reclamation Zone | Delta Bike Tour | A blog series exploring a two day road bike tour around the Sacramento Delta. Includes route maps and pics. JamieThornton.com #deltabiketour
The black and white filter makes this sign look that much more ominous, doesn’t’ it? 
Vineyards | Delta Bike Tour | A blog series exploring a two day road bike tour around the Sacramento Delta. Includes route maps and pics. JamieThornton.com #deltabiketour
My husband reenacting the Wicked Witch from Wizard of Oz. 
Ferry #2 | Delta Bike Tour | A blog series exploring a two day road bike tour around the Sacramento Delta. Includes route maps and pics. JamieThornton.com #deltabiketour
I had no idea the delta sloughs had ferry crossings. We rode two of them! 
Bridge | Delta Bike Tour | A blog series exploring a two day road bike tour around the Sacramento Delta. Includes route maps and pics. JamieThornton.com #deltabiketour
The turn off before Grand Isle Mansion. 
Slough roads | Delta Bike Tour | A blog series exploring a two day road bike tour around the Sacramento Delta. Includes route maps and pics. JamieThornton.com #deltabiketour
Almost half of our trip took place on empty levee roads with vineyards and old victorian era houses. 
Ferry decorations | Delta Bike Tour | A blog series exploring a two day road bike tour around the Sacramento Delta. Includes route maps and pics. JamieThornton.com #deltabiketour
Personal decoration touches seen on the ferry
Ferry #1 | Delta Bike Tour | A blog series exploring a two day road bike tour around the Sacramento Delta. Includes route maps and pics. JamieThornton.com #deltabiketour
First ferry encounter

 

The importance of weather and setting in fiction | A Feast of Weeds | JamieThornton.com #fog

The Fog of Weeds, Part 2

To celebrate the official start of fall here in Northern California regardless of how hot today gets, I decided to post more of the fog pictures I’ve taken that helped inspire A Feast of Weeds: Book #1.

I’ve posted before about the importance of setting and weather in my stories. In future posts I’ll share inspiration for the settings of the other two books in A Feast of Weeds. In the meantime, feel free to pin or save these pics for your own personal use.

Join the Adventure to receive updates on the Spring 2015 release of A Feast of Weeds. I’ll be offering several free stories, sneak peaks, and discounts exclusive to the newsletter.

The importance of weather and setting in fiction | A Feast of Weeds | JamieThornton.com #fog
A spooky break in the trees
The importance of weather and setting in fiction | A Feast of Weeds | JamieThornton.com #fog
Majestic oak falling over the trail
The importance of weather and setting in fiction | A Feast of Weeds | JamieThornton.com #fog
Bending oaks over of the foggy trail
The importance of weather and setting in fiction | A Feast of Weeds | JamieThornton.com #fog
Trail disappearing into the fog
The importance of weather and setting in fiction | A Feast of Weeds | JamieThornton.com #fog
A curve in the trail
The importance of weather and setting in fiction | A Feast of Weeds | JamieThornton.com #fog
Lush green, oak trees, fog
The importance of weather and setting in fiction | A Feast of Weeds | JamieThornton.com #fog
A man wandering the trail on a foggy day
The importance of weather and setting in fiction | A Feast of Weeds | JamieThornton.com #fog
An open field, rusting machinery, fog
The importance of weather and setting in fiction | A Feast of Weeds | JamieThornton.com #fog
A portal winding through the lush grass and fog
The importance of weather and setting in fiction | A Feast of Weeds | JamieThornton.com #fog
Another view of the trail portal and oak tree
The importance of weather and setting in fiction | A Feast of Weeds | JamieThornton.com #fog
A curling oak tree sheltering the trail in the fog
The importance of weather and setting in fiction | A Feast of Weeds | JamieThornton.com #fog
A dark path winding around an old oak
The importance of weather and setting in fiction | A Feast of Weeds | JamieThornton.com #fog
Fading fog as a man walks the trail under majestic oaks
The importance of weather and setting in fiction | A Feast of Weeds | JamieThornton.com #fog
Majestic oak, winding trail, last of the fog

 

delta-bike-tour-sunset

Delta Bike Tour #1 – The Maps

Delta Bike Tour | A blog series exploring a two day road bike tour around the Sacramento Delta. Includes route maps and pics. JamieThornton.com #deltabiketourThis is the first post in a new series that explores some of my research and adventures while writing A Feast of Weeds, a post-apocalyptic adventure trilogy.

When violence erupts in Corrina’s neighborhood, Corrina and Dylan must flee. But then Dylan is captured and when Corrina attempts a rescue, she’s infected with a virus that messes with her memories—like PTSD and seeing ghosts, all-in-one. Suddenly she can’t be sure what’s real and what’s the virus and whether she’s still human. Troubles ensue, betrayals mount, people die. Corrina will do anything to save Dylan, even kill. And that’s just A Feast of Weeds: Book #1.

I had so much fun writing this series.

My characters in A Feast of Weeds eventually spend a lot of time on their bicycles. When the world falls apart, vehicles choke the freeways, and neighborhoods burn, bicycles might just be the most reliable way to get out of town. I went on two road bike tours with my husband over the past year to get a feel for what my characters might go through on the trail.

We started this first Delta Bike Tour in West Sacramento. We biked for two days; an out-and-back trip. The first day was about 55 miles, the second day was about 45 miles. We stayed the night in Rio Vista. I’ve included Google Maps of our route as well as some highlight pictures below. The posts in the rest of this series will share details about the route, the curious and beautiful sights along the way, and what all of that did to my imagination.

Igneous Books is publishing A Feast of Weeds in late Spring 2015. I’ll be sending updates, sneak peeks, and advance reader copies through my email list.   I hope you decide to Join the Adventure and further explore how this delta bike tour informed the trilogy.

Day #1 Map – from West Sacramento to Rio Vista

Day #2 Map – from Rio Vista to West Sacramento

Need to Escape Work? Find a Portal.

portal

You may have found a portal if…

It’s a wardrobe closet (The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe)

A many-eyed, flying orb knocks on your door (Wrinkle in Time)

You are at a Train Station (Harry Potter)

You’re sent a Golden Ticket in the mail (Charlie and the Chocolate factory)

You fall down a rabbit hole (Alice in Wonderland)

My definition for a portal: there is a “real” world to return to even if you don’t know how to get back.

These are some portal-stories that still stick with me longer after reading them. What are your favorite portal-stories?